Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that the former chief of the Seaville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company was sentenced today to five years in state prison for receiving payments of approximately $46,000 that were based on fraudulent invoices and receipts he submitted for reimbursement to the fire company and Upper Township Fire Commissioners.
Eugene Spiegel, 52, was sentenced by Cape May County Superior Court Judge John C. Porto. In addition to the prison sentence, Spiegel will pay restitution in the amount of $46,177 and will be banned from all future public employment. In June, he pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy. Spiegel’s son Jacob Spiegel, 20, of Seaville, was admitted to a pre-trial intervention program today after having admitted that he had received a reimbursement of $1,275 for training that he did not attend while volunteering for the Seaville fire company.
“The Spiegels stole from an organization whose purpose is to serve Seaville’s residents and protect them during dangerous circumstances,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “Eugene Spiegel abused the trust of his community and his fellow firefighters by routing fire company funds to enrich himself.”
“Public officials who steal taxpayer money for their own personal use need to be punished,” said Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig. “The anti-corruption laws in New Jersey are tough and we are working tirelessly to prosecute any official who violates them.”
The state investigation began in March 2014 following an internal review by the Seaville Fire and Rescue Company of its finances that revealed several reimbursements Spiegel had received for training courses and clothing that he had never paid for and the company had never actually received. The financial review discovered that the fire company had issued approximately $18,000 in checks to a clothing apparel company that listed Spiegel’s home address as its location. In addition, the investigation found that he had been receiving reimbursements totaling more than $17,000 since 2011 for purchases of fire company apparel from a defunct company that ceased operations during Spiegel’s alleged scam. The fire company could find no evidence it ever received any apparel. Additionally, between 2010 and 2013, Spiegel received more than $9,500 for firefighter trainings he did not attend.
Deputy Attorneys General Jon Gilmore, Peter Lee and Brian Uzdavinis represented the state in this matter on behalf of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Deputy Attorney General Lee handled today’s sentencing. New Jersey State Police Corruption Bureau Detectives Laura Wheeler, David Feldstein and David Engelhard assisted with the investigation.